Deerskin- King of Comedy
Quentin Dupieux rejuvenates French comedy…
A look back to an unusual director’s career,
on the occasion of the release of his new film.
By Jacques Braunstein
Reading time 3 min.
Self-taught director who became famous at first in 1999 as a musician (Mr Oizo) who directed himself his clips (Flat Beat with the chracter of Flat Eric), Quentin Dupieux is a sort of one-man band who writes, centres, edits, can write music, manage his films’ artistic direction or chose the length (hardly ever more than an hour). From this autonomy was born an unusual and quirky cinema, that never follow the rules of mainstream comedy.
Dupieux pictures Dujardin’s
Discovered in 2001 in cinema with Le Non-Film, then he went to the USA and developed a series of unusual projects. Steak (2007) which distorted the image of Éric & Ramzy, Rubber and his killer tyre, Wrong puis Wrong Cop, sort of off-the-wall tributes to ZAZ (The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear, Airplane!…)… His three last films seem to be a comeback to French cinema. Even though the first Realité (2015) occured in Los Angeles once again, Alain Chabat played the role of a director. As a reminder that Fear City: A Family-Style Comedy and Les Nuls are the first French references associated to Dupieux’s eccentric cinema. Au poste (for which we met him) kept going with this process of return to French cinema, with Benoît Poelvoorde (Man bites dog‘s actor , another possible source of Dupieux’s cinema) and Grégoire Ludig from the Palmashow, one of the new TV version of his type of humor.
Dujardin at Chabrol’s ?
Jean Dujardin, sort of French comical boss (Brice de Nice, OSS 117, The Artist...), was the only missing piece Dupieux had to face. In Deerskin, he puts him in the kitsch set of an off-season medium mountain resort, which is an atmosphere looking like Chabrol and Blier father and son (Buffet Froid). He captures Dujardin’s local side. Dupieux is obviously back at home, at the heart of a Fench imaginary world he’s going to perpertuate and pervert at the same time.
Deerskin is about a jacket for which a man leaves his town, his wife, his life in order to get it. With this jacket, he establishes a dialogue and creates a deadly alliance. He also meets Adèle Haenel, waitress and wannabe film editor, to whom he makes believe he’s a director and he involves her in his absurd adventure… The film is dark and keeps all its promises and Dujardin gives his character a disturbing aspect we didn’t know he could have.